I was watching a movie over the weekend that I haven’t seen in a long time; Cocoon.
In this movie there are some amazing stars that I always felt were phenomenal actors, but sadly are no longer with us anymore. I wanted to touch on a few of them (in no specific order), as well as a few others that I enjoyed as a child:
Hume Cronyn – Died in 2003 at the age of 91. He was married to Jessica Tandy (who also stared in Cocoon) for fifty-two years. Known to be a lover of Sci-fi, he stared in such movies as Batteries Not Included (1987), Twelve Angry Men (1997, Phantom of the Opera (1943) and Cleopatra (1963) to name a few. He performed on radio, stage, as well as many shows and films.
Jack Gilford – Died in 1990 of stomach cancer. Gilford started performing in 1940 and was relatively well-known for a unique mix of Vaudeville and Yiddish theater, which landed him at New York’s “Cafe Society” – a nightclub operating back in the late 1930’s. He started on Broadway, later making his way to film by the mid 1940’s. He was known as “Bernie Lefkowitz” in the Cocoon series.
Jessica Tandy – Died in 1994 at the age of 85. Hume Cronyn’s wife, she began her acting career in London at the age of 18 opposite roles with actors such as Laurence Olivier. Well known for her Broadway performance in “A Streetcar Named Desire”, she was best known by younger generations for her roles in “Driving Miss Daisy”, “Cocoon” and “Fried Green Tomatoes”. She also stared in Hitchcock’s “The Bird’s”. Tandy was probably one of my favorite actresses as a child. She just always seemed like the kind of woman who you wanted to be around in all the roles she played.
Laurence Olivier – Died in 1989, aged 82. From England, Olivier was well-known for his Shakespearean roles and had a classic style that allowed him to dominate the stage with a presence that left men admiring and women swooning. He was knighted in 1947 and later created a life peer in 1970 as Baron Olivier. Sadly, after asking several of today’s youth (under the age of 30) what they thought of Laurence Olivier, they responded with “Who?”
Maureen Stapleton – Died in 2006. She was originally from Troy, New York and began her acting career in 1946. She stared roles in “Bye Bye Birdie”, “Airport”, “The Thorns” and “The Money Pit” to name a few.
Michael Landon – Died in 1991 of pancreatic cancer. Well known for his roles in “Little House on the Prairie and “Highway to Heaven” – co-staring in both shows with his good friend Victor French (see below). Landon was also well-known for his earlier roles in the television show “Bonanza”.
Victor French – Died 1989 at the age of 54. Known for his roles in “Little House on the Prairie and “Highway to Heaven”, he also started in such television shows as “Fame”, “Carter Country”, and of course, “Gunsmoke”. French was well-known for teaching actors with a gentle and patient philosophy.
George Burns – Died in 1996 at age 100. One of the most well-known comedians of the 20th century, born Naftaly Birnbaum. He started his working career at age seven where he worked as a syrup maker at a local candy shop, little did he know his career would span 96 years and touch the lives of billions. Burns was well-known for his trademark cigar and in later years his superior health at such an advanced age. Asked once at an interview when he was 95 what he thought about being over 90, to which he replied “Sex at age 90 is like trying to shoot pool with a rope.”
There have been a lot of people in entertainment, in front of the camera and behind, that have touched our lives in ways we might not even know. Please, let me know below who some of your favorite actors and actresses have been that are no longer with us. I would enjoy hearing about it.